NASA: 60th Anniversary 3D Celebration

3D render by Justin Patton.

Space – the source of wonder, different worlds and cosmic beginnings – these concepts have held our fascination since we first discovered that there were astronomical bodies outside of Earth. In celebration of NASA’s 60th anniversary, Adobe Stock 3D and Dimension CC have come up with an amazing adventure for all those creative space lovers out there.

Here is the deal. Our team has put together an array of stunning content for artists to use and pay tribute to NASA in all its glory. This includes:

Our goal is to give creatives the tools and assets necessary to celebrate NASA and all it has done to make our hearts race, our spirits soar and our minds awaken. In the words of Bill Barry, NASA’s Chief Historian, “NASA’s mission across the decades and its work to uncover new knowledge and send people farther into space will continue to inspire people around the world to work toward a brighter future. Using these kinds of images and data, we hope that creative people around the world will join us in shaping the future.” So, what are you waiting for? Download some assets (link to gallery here), grab a public domain background photo from NASA, create your own 3D render and share the results with NASA and the world!

The beginning

On October 1, 1958, the President of the United States and Congress created NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration), a civilian-led organization devoted to the pursuit of exploration activities in space for peaceful purposes and the benefit of all. Originally triggered by national defense interests spawned by the 1957 launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, by the Soviet Union, and the 1958 launch by the U.S. of Explorer 1; space exploration emerged to the forefront of our global awareness and developed into a leading point of international competition – from there on out, nicknamed the “space race.”

Following these events were years of “firsts” by NASA. In 1961, Alan B. Shepard Jr. became the first American to fly in space. In 1962, John H. Glenn Jr. was the first American to orbit the Earth and 1965 marked the year that Edward H. White II became the first NASA astronaut to spacewalk. Our belief in what was possible and where these adventures could take us were forever changed.

A 3D render made in Dimension inspired by the beginnings of NASA. Saturn V was used by NASA between 1967 and 1973.

Going to the moon

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth.” With Project Apollo, NASA spent the next nine years working to achieve President Kennedy’s vision. There were setbacks, and at times, tragedies – such as a fire in the Apollo 1 capsule that took the lives of Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White, II and Roger B. Chaffee – but the drive, dedication and spirit of exploration was, by now, alive in us all.

Through the hard work and passion of the NASA team and those involved with the organization, the impossible finally became possible. In July of 1969, Neil A. Armstrong achieved the incredible dream originally expressed nine years prior by becoming the first person to walk on the Moon. And with that walk, Armstrong uttered the landmark phrase, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Following this event, five more successful landings on the Moon were followed by the first international human space flight (completed jointly with the Soviet Union in 1975). We, as a society, continued to crave the unknown, placing our trust in NASA to lead that vision forward.

A 3D render made in Dimension inspired by the progress of NASA. The Space Shuttle era started in 1981 and had its final landing in 2011.

Onward and upward

In 1981, NASA electrified the world again with the introduction of the Space Shuttle, NASA’s first re-usable spacecraft – one that could take off vertically, conduct on-orbit operations and land smoothly like an airplane. On April 12th, Space Shuttle Columbia (or STS-1), took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and with it, Commander John W. Young and Pilot Robert L. Crippen on the maiden flight. Cmdr. Young would fly another Space Shuttle mission to become the first person to fly in space six times on four different spacecrafts. Two years later, Sally K. Ride became the first American woman to fly in space. The ability of astronauts, engineers and thousands of other members of the NASA team to change what defined our world continued to be an inspiration – one that allowed us all to dream of unknown galaxies and amazing adventures.

Sadly, in 1986, tragedy struck again. The seven crew members of the Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-51L) were killed in an explosion 73 seconds after launch. This loss struck at the heart and soul of not just our Nation, but the world. For the next two years, NASA tirelessly investigated and examined the accident. Based on these findings, the boosters that malfunctioned were redesigned and additional safety precautions were introduced for all future initiatives. From 1988 until 2003, NASA completed over 87 successful Space Shuttle missions, exploring our galaxy and beyond. These endeavors included the first three-person spacewalk in 1992 along with landmark initiatives like the launch and repair of the Hubble Space Telescope, the Galileo mission to the outer planets and the Magellan mission to Venus. Although an additional tragedy struck NASA in February of 2003 with the loss of the crew of Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107), the organization has continued to hone its knowledge, expertise and vision while continuing to work on the safety and security of those who participate in any of these space-bound trips.

A 3D render made in Dimension inspired by the future of NASA. The Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV) is a modular concept vehicle currently in the research and testing phase.

The future

NASA’s future will continue to be one that touches on its original 1958 goal of peaceful space exploration for the benefit of all. Returning to the Moon, continuing to explore Mars and beyond, and working to understand the place that Earth holds in the Universe are all critical parts of this forward-thinking vision. Unlike the past, this will not be a “space race” but a wholehearted endeavor dedicated to exploration and development, based on community, cooperation and partnership. Some key points of development and focus will include:

The 60th Anniversary of NASA as an organization is a momentous occasion to be remembered. A time to celebrate all that has been done and everything that is yet to come. With that in mind, we ask you to join us on this journey, build your own 3D render and dream a dream. Show the world what you can imagine.

For some additional creative inspiration, please feel free to visit NASA’s posters on Vision of the Future (we have included three examples below):

Posters: Creative strategy by Dan Goods and David Delgado; Illustrations by Invisible Creature (The Grand Tour), David Delgado (HD 40307g), Stefan Bucher and Ron Miller (Jupiter); Courtesy of JPL/NASA.

Download free 3D assets inspired by NASA on Adobe Stock.

Special thanks to the Adobe team and beyond for their work in making this happen: David Nelson, Alex Fleming, Jordon Jakusz, Arielle Karpowicz, Justin Patton, and Vladimir Petkovic.